Kermit Lynch was raised in San Luis Obispo, but his name has become synonymous with French and Italian wines. In 1972, with a $5,000 loan and maybe a bit of gumption, this writer/musician opened Kermit Lynch Wine Merchant with thirty-five cases of wine stacked on the floor. Attracted by the Old World wine cultures of Europe, Kermit became a retailer, distributor, and national importer for authentic wines that express their terroir
. Much like his close friends, the late food writer Richard Olney and Chez Panisse’s founder Alice Waters, Kermit’s influence has been enduring. He has had so much success shining the spotlight on small, artisan producers that he has won two James Beard awards and was knighted by the French government with their prestigious “Legion d’Honneur.”
Kermit’s creative nature continues to extend beyond the two doors of his Berkeley storefront. In 1998, he purchased the historic Domaine Les Pallières in Gigondas in partnership with his friends, the Brunier brothers of Domaine du Vieux Télégraphe. In addition to having three books published, Adventures on the Wine Route (1988, Veuve Cliquot Wine Book of the Year), Inspiring Thirst (2004), and the 25th Anniversary Edition: Adventures on the Wine Route (2013), his passion for roots music has driven him to record five CDs so far. Kermit and his wife, photographer Gail Skoff, divide their time between Berkeley, California and Provence, France—where Kermit says he is “near enough to Domaine Tempier that I can fill up the trunk of my car whenever I need to.”
Domaine le Sang des Cailloux, Vacqueyras Cuvée de Lopy (2015)
Grapes: Grenache and Syrah Geography: Rhône Valley, France Appellation: Vacqueyras
One glimpse of Serge Férigoule’s barbell moustache might be enough for one to be completely enamored with the wines of Le Sang des Cailloux, although they also speak remarkably well for themselves. This domaine’s name means “the blood of the stones,” and Serge Férigoule is most certainly the heart that links the two together. In 1974, Serge left winemaking school with a longing to return to the vineyards. He went to work for Monsieur Ricard’s family in 1979 to oversee the vineyards. Without anyone in his family to succeed him, Ricard decided to gamble by partnering with Serge in 1982. In 1990, after Monsieur Ricard’s retirement, Serge launched Le Sang des Cailloux. Vacqueyras had just been awarded an A.O.C. that same year, a timely twist of fate that helped Serge’s wines to become as celebrated as they deserve.
All of Serge’s seventeen hectares rest on the great Plateau des Garrigues, where red clay, limestone, and the famous galets roulés, or rounded stones, impart a terrific intensity and depth to the wines. Given the aridity of the soil, the vines here are naturally prone to lower yields—this gives the wines their concentration and power. That Serge has been farming organically for years but has never sought certification says something about his philosophy. He is not looking to impress; only to make the best wines he possibly can. Serge is also sentimental—each year, the Cuvée Traditionnelle of Le Sang des Cailloux is named for one of his daughters, Floureto, Doucinello and Azalaïs. The “Vieilles Vignes” is also called “Lopy,” named for his hometown. His wines have everything we love about the Rhône – wild and chewy with great notes of leather, spicy garrigue, and smoky, black fruit.
Duorum, Douro Colheita Red (2014)
Grapes: Touriga Nacional, Touriga Franca, and Tinta Roriz Geography: Douro, Portugal Appellation: Douro
Winery Overview The name Duorum, which is Latin for “from two,” captures the spirit of this famed Portuguese winery, which was founded in 2007 by João Portugal Ramos and José Soares Franco, two of Portugal’s most renowned oenologists. Ramos, widely considered the “King of the Alentejo,” began his career as a groundbreaking wine consultant in the 1980s, and today runs successful projects in the Alentejo, Vinho Verde, Beiras, and Douro. Franco, on the other hand, spent 27 years as wine director for one of Portugal’s most renowned wines: the Douro’s Barca Velha. Longtime friends and admirers of each other’s work, they sought to pool their combined 60 years of winemaking experience and create a wine together. Today, Duorum is widely recognized as a gold standard for Portuguese wines. Location of Vineyard Duorum has vineyards in the Douro’s mountainous, schistose Cima Corga, and its arid Douro Superior. The microclimates and terroir in these subregions are quite different, which brings together grapes of varied characteristics. This unique blend creates a layered, complex wine. Winemaking Philosophy Duroum is founded on the principle of celebrating the Douro region’s unique terroir and winemaking heritage. Only native Portuguese grape varieties are planted in the hard, schistose soil of the Duorum vineyards. The mountains in the area are so steep that vines are planted in terraces overlooking the winding Douro River far below. The landscape is made even more breathtaking by the abundance of native olive trees and indigenous wildlife, such as the endangered Bonelli’s Eagle. A deeply felt ethic of sustainability and stewardship toward the land drives Duorum. Their use of native flora and the character it adds to their wine has placed them in high regard. In fact, in 2012 Duorum received the European Union’s Business & Biodiversity award for its outstanding achievements in halting biodiversity loss and supporting natural ecosystems. Internationally acclaimed oenologists João Portugal Ramos and José Soares Franco graduated from El Instituto Superior de Agronomia (Higher Institute of Agronomy) in 1977 with degrees in agronomy. Both gentlemen received work placements at the National Winegrowing Station at Dois Portos from 1977 to 1978. In the 30 years that followed, João and José have left an indelible mark on the industry, both domestically and internationally. With more than three generations of winemaking history between their families, they chose to combine their superior skills and passion for winemaking and founded Duorum in 2007.
40% Touriga Nacional, 40% Touriga Franca, and 20% Tinta Roriz
A blend of Touriga Nacional, Touriga Franca, and Tinta Roriz, this wine comes from two different parcels of land in two different Douro sub-regions at two different altitudes. The grapes are carefully selected and fermented in stainless steel tanks before aging in oak barrels for approximately twelve months.
A richly aromatic wine of black cherries, tar, mocha, and a hint of violets. On the palate, this wine’s rich texture is balanced perfectly against a zesty acidity, and rounded out by well-integrated, fine-grained tannins. This wine begs for another sip as its mellifluous flavors develop well into the finish.
Domaine Maestracci, Vin de Corse-Calvi Clos Reginu (2017)
Grapes: Syrah and GrenacheGeography: Corsica, FranceAppellation: Vin de Corse-Calvi
High in the foothills of Monte Grossu mountain, inland from Calvi, lies the granite plateau of Reginu, an area long known for U Vinu di E Prove – the wine of the Prove, as the micro-climate is known. The particularity of the plateau is the exposition to hot and dry daytime temperatures with high altitude cool nights, all within a short distance from the sea and regular maritime winds. The plateau has been continuously used for vine and olive growing for centuries, and was once the site of a major olive pressing operation that supplied a large part of France with its olive oil. In 1945, when the owner of the olive oil mill packed up and moved his operation to colonial Algeria is search of bigger land and greater profits, Roger Maestracci saw a golden opportunity and moved in. The departing olive oil baron had left behind a massive concrete structure with walls so thick the air inside stayed cool year round. Originally used to house the mill and the pressed oil, Roger adapted the structure for old wooden casks and concrete tanks and set about replanting vines on the property. Within a few years the domaine had established a firm reputation in the area and when it came time for Roger to retire in the early 1980’s he passed along the reigns of the domaine to his son-in-law, Michel Raoust, who still runs the domaine today. Given the particularity of the terroir and the diverse influence of the temperature variations and granite soils, Michel allows the red an extended time to age and mellow before release, at least two years in large oak casks, while the white is bottled young to maintain the freshness and iodized ocean breeze of the terroir. The wines Michel makes are quintessential Mediterranean food wines.
Éric Chevalier, Muscadet-Côtes de Grandlieu La Noe (2016)
Grape: Melon de Bourgogne Geography: Loire Valley, France Appellation: Muscadet-Côtes de Grandlieu
Éric Chevalier is a rising star in the Nantais of the Loire Valley. For ten years, he sourced fruit for a large négociant in the Touraine. In 2005, he decided to return to his hometown of Saint-Philbert de Grandlieu, just southwest of Nantes, and ended up taking over the family domaine, Domaine de l’Aujardière, the next year. His father, a talented vigneron who did not bottle much of his wines and was well-known as a high-quality source of bulk wine, had stopped working the vineyards and the vines were either going to have to be pulled up and replanted, or sold. Éric was anything but enthusiastic. Little by little his passion grew, and today he is proud to be the fourth generation to farm the domaine. He is also proud to be bottling more and more of the family’s production himself. Éric sustainably farms twenty-five hectares of vines, producing wines of great character and finesse. He found his future in his family’s past.
The Nantais is a maritime climate, and the vineyards are not far from the Atlantic Ocean. Consequently, there is an interesting variety of sedimentary, igneous, and metamorphic rocks, as this area once was ocean floor. Of the twenty-five hectares he farms, a large percentage of his production is dedicated to the production of Melon de Bourgogne (Muscadet Côtes de Grand Lieu, mostly from old vines in the superb lieu-dit of La Butte). The soils here are comprised primarily of serpentinite and quartz, with the exception of his ancient granite parcel known as La Noë. The other half of his crop (Chardonnay, Fié Gris, and Pinot Noir, among others) goes towards the production of Vin de Pays du Val du Loire, and the soils are rich in granite, sand, and silt. Of these “country” wines, the most notable is Éric’s Fié Gris. This grape, pulled out of vineyards for many years to be replaced with the more profitable Sauvignon Blanc, is indigenous to the Loire. Also known as Sauvignon Rose or Sauvignon Gris, Éric’s vines are one of the few remaining strongholds of this elegant and luscious varietal. It makes an impression, with almost an Alsatian exoticism.
NEW YORK DISTILLING COMPANY
The earliest distilleries in Brooklyn date back to the 1700’s. During Prohibition there were over 50,000 illicit stills in New York City. Since Prohibition however, the ethereal perfumes of distillation have been largely absent…until now.
The New York Distilling Company builds on this dream by establishing one of the nation’s premiere craft distilleries.
Ragtime Rye 200ml
We also have NEW 200ml FLASKS of Ragtime Rye Straight Whiskey – The Highest Rated American Craft Rye Whiskey by the New York Times. A perfect grab-and-go item for the holidays
Ragtime Rye Straight Whiskey (in the flask) – 3-5 year old small batch (they do 14 barrels per batch), distilled with a mashbill of 75% rye, 13% corn, and 12% malted barley. One farmer, Rick Petersen, in Geneva, NY grows ALL of the rye they use in our whiskey. It is matured exclusively in new, 53 gallon, char #3, white oak barrels. Bottled at 90.4 proof, Ragtime Rye was the New York Times Highest Rated Craft Rye in a recent rye tasting article that focused on American ryes under 10 years of age, and got a Gold at the San Francisco Spirits Competition in 2017
ROCK & RYE
Mister Katz grew up on the B&O railroad, spitting distance from the old Hannisville Distillery. In the days, before Prohibition there was all manner of entertainment to keep a young man’s fancy: the ponies, chewing tobacco, malts at the drugstore, and an evening’s treat of Rock & Rye.
An American classic, authentic Rock & Rye could once be found on the back bar of most noteworthy establishments. Over a century later we proudly present Mister Katz’s Rock & Rye. In service to the past and present, it marries our youthful rye whiskey and rock candy sugar with sour cherries, cinnamon, and a wisp of citrus. Enjoy it on its on or in a cocktail.
AMERICAN STRAIGHT WHISKEY
At the dawn of a new century, before the turbulence of Prohibition, the stalwarts of saloons and brothels alike were Ragtime and Rye. The syncopated rhythms of a uniquely American music were punctuated by well-built melody and shades of harmony; to ask for a whiskey cocktail meant a hearty Rye in hand – bold, slightly spicy and full of warm flavor. From Lincoln to the Dust Bowl, the wrath of battle to the backyard barbecue, Rye Whiskey has waxed and waned like amber waves of grain, its popularity, only recently, reclaimed as a resolute American spirit.
Distilled from rye proudly grown in New York State, this uncompromising whiskey is aged exclusively in full-size barrels to ensure robust flavor and nuanced finish. If the destiny of nations depends on cultural nourishment then ours may rest, in fulfillment, with Ragtime and Rye.